So a few weeks back (pre-Christmas) I wrote about what the “future” of education might be, with a dash of iPod wishing thrown in for good measure! (I’m still waiting for my email from Steve Jobs…) But, I got a number of emails regarding this vision of things to come, asking about my take on other stuff. I must admit, creating the vision of the future is fun…mental gymnastics as it may be, but fun all the same. One of the requests surrounded social networks. You know, Web 2.0 stuff.
I genuinely like talking about Web 2.0. I realize for some it’s already old news, but in the education circles I work with, it’s pretty high tech. (If we can only get teachers to see that Web 2.0 is SO much bigger than wikis and blogs…) But the power and flexibility the tools offer is pretty impressive. I like that they offer new opportunities for learners to take more control of their learning and access their own customized information, resources, tools and services. I think it’s great that they encourage a wider range of expressive capability. How great that they help facilitate more collaborative ways of working, community creation, dialogue and knowledge sharing. And ultimately, I appreciate social networking tools ability to furnish a setting for learner achievements to attract an authentic audience.
So what will these tools look like in the future? Well, I think the Open Source movement will help pave some of the way. First, I would be surprised if the tools we use today don’t talk to each other, allowing us to have multiple tools sharing content and alerts with each other. Websites like Ning are starting to get towards this notion, but instead of the feeds all coming from the same website, they would all talk together. Essentially, you’d have a page of widgets that held all of your good stuff!
Second, these interoperable talking points would be smarter. It would become easier to share them in all the appropriate spots. For example, if I were to write a killer book (or Kindle) review of “Disrupting Class” (which I will do soon…) on my blog, that would be great for the 500 or 1000 people who read it. BUT, wouldn’t it serve everyone better if it were on Amazon’s site? My subscription to Twitter could be used to tell me where to check the full articles and my wiki might get picked up on Digg where it would do more good for the collective!
Lastly, (I know that there will be a lot more cool stuff than three things, but I’m pacing myself…) I would bet that these networks talking to each other would will be even more useful as the mobile world explodes. You can already see the impact as the iPhone’s apps and Windows Mobile stream more and more rss elements. But imagine this: I’m a blogger who writes a blog about how I love ice cream. I also happen to have a GPS phone that sends me my daily reads from Fark while telling my friends on Loopt where I am and what I’m doing. But, since my coffee blog was tagged by Web 3.0 (the Semantic Web), it’s now associating me with ice cream. So one day I’m walking down 16th Street Mall in Denver when I get a text message. It’s a buy one get one free coupon for the new ice cream shoppe that just went in about a block away. Will I use it? Of course I will!!! Will I thank technology for the great coupon and introduction? Of course I will!!! Will I enjoy their delicious vanilla based ice cream with peanut butter ribbon, fudge ribbon, peanut butter candy, and chocolate chunks? What do you think? (You’re welcome Ben & Jerry…can you call it PB & Jeff?)
Want to hear more about the future of technology? Want to tie it to education, productivity, or industry for your group? Contact email@example.com immediately!